A DESPERATE mum has called for more help for families who find themselves suddenly without a home.

Charlotte Picken, aged 31, from Halesowen, is currently frantically searching for a home for herself, her husband Jamie, aged 32, and her two young daughters, Jasmine and Ella, after they were suddenly left with nowhere to live.

The family were forced to leave their previous home in Halesowen in July after their landlord did not renew their tenancy.

Four private rental applications have fallen through, forcing the family to move in with Charlotte’s mum and stepfather in Stourbridge, a situation which Charlotte says is ‘not ideal’ when the house has three bedrooms.

Charlotte believes the situation has been exacerbated due to her nine-year-old daughter's autism, which she feels may be used against her when applying for a tenancies.

She said: “I feel like I shouldn’t be judged for having a child with additional needs.

“Landlords need to take this into consideration. It’s not going to affect the tenancy in any way, not going to harm anyone else.

“We just want a home so we can get on with our lives.”

She says the family have been left in ‘no man’s land’, in a situation where they cannot find anywhere to rent privately and have struggled to be accepted for a mortgage to take a step on to the property ladder.

Charlotte said: “It feels like we’ve hit a brick wall and no one is listening.

“No reasons were given when we have been turned down to rent family homes and I don’t know what is happening with the council.

“We have tried every avenue possible and have been rejected at every turn. Every time we think we have found somewhere it has fallen through.”

With the new school year fast approaching, Charlotte wants to find a home back in Halesowen to be closer to her eldest child’s school.

She says she has sought help from the council, but was told to either declare herself as homeless and be placed anywhere in the borough, or to be placed on the waiting list which could take months.

She added: "There should be more options. We say we’re homeless or wait."

Charlotte says she is continuing to search for private homes to rent, but wanted to share her story with the News as many other families may be in a similar position.

Councillor Laura Taylor, cabinet member responsible for housing, said: “When a private tenancy is not renewed, we’d always encourage the tenant to contact our homelessness team for advice and support.

“There will always be a range of options available, which may include (depending on circumstances) negotiation with the landlord, help to defend possession proceedings, or help to find a new home. If a resident requests that our teams close their case then our teams will advise that they should contact the Housing Advice team in the future should they require further assistance.

“We will do our best to help people find accommodation in their preferred area, either in social housing or another private tenancy, however this may not always be possible to find someone their ideal location or property type. We have a selection of properties across the borough which are available at short notice for those who require urgent accommodation, and largely these help accommodate people in their preferred areas.

“Our main priority is to ensure the family has somewhere safe and secure to stay in order to avoid them actually becoming homeless. We also take any disability very seriously and have an excellent Occupational Therapy team who work closely with families and the Housing Advice team to ensure that any disabilities are carefully considered when identifying suitable accommodation."